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I-Series Computing Concepts
Stephen Haag, University of Denver
Maeve Cummings, Pittsburg State University
Alan I Rea, Jr., Western Michigan University

Nuts And Bolts Of Networks And Computers

Internet Connections

Overview of Internet Connection Possibilities

You can connect to the Internet in any one of five ways

1. a telephone modem,

2. Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL),

3. a cable modem,

4. a satellite modem, or

5. a wireless connection.

Most people are already well acquainted with telephone modems, but broadband connections (the other four) are the definitely the wave of the future. At the end of 2001, 10 million households had broadband Internet connections, a number that is expected to reach 30.7 million by 2005.

Broadband connections are usually more expensive than dial-up, although, according to PC World magazine says that 89% of the people they surveyed pay $50 or less for their broadband service.

There are ways to reduce the overall cost of your broadband connection.

  • Wait for special deals. Every so often an Internet service provider will waive start-up fees, free use of a modem and/or reduced or waived installation charges.
  • Buy your own modem. People often rent their modems from their ISP. If you plan on keeping your modem a long time, it makes sense to buy your own. But, first check with your ISP to make sure that the modem you're planning on buying is supported.
  • Consider a long-term contract. Many ISPs offer short-term promotional rates, or reduced fees for longer-term contracts. It might be worth it to you to take a two-year contract to save money. However, if you're going to be moving before the term is up, the reduction won't help.
  • Share the connection. If more than one person in your household wants to use the Internet with you, a broadband connection in a home network may well be cheaper than extra phone lines.


Satellite Modems

Satellite modems are not as widely used as cable or DSL modems, but there are still plenty of choices out there. Here's a sampling of satellite modems on the market.

PSK-1 Modem

  • Modes and functions selected by front panel push buttons
  • Modes and functions can be controlled by menus if the computer control port is used
  • Excellent sensitivity
  • Uplink and downlink radio
  • Telemetry and control port
  • PacComm

PSK Digital Satellite Modem (CM601A)

  • Modes and functions accessible on front panel or by remote terminal
  • Can be controlled with Radyne ComStream's Windows 95/NT virtual control panel which is a GUI program
  • Universal RS-422, RS-232, V.35 interface
  • Ultra low cost
  • Radyne ComStream

DVBox 300 USB Satellite Modem

  • USB interface
  • Easy installation
  • Open, programmable API platform
  • sci-worx GmbH


Computer magazines, many of which have Web sites, have lots of information about Internet connections.